I found a letter in my attic the other day: it was written by myself, aged either five or six. The spelling wasn’t great, but when corrected it basically read: Dear Geoffrey from Rainbow, I am worried about you because I watch you every day and you are my friend and I have to tell you that there is a man inside Bungle did you know this do not say anything to Bungle in case he gets angry and the man comes out I never want you to die
Love from David Stone from Ramsgate
The thing is, the letter doesn’t quite convey the shock I felt after the conversation that I vaguely remember having about the situation with my mum when I ran into the kitchen one morning. This was the gist of it….
“Mum! You have to come quickly! MUM!”
“What’s wrong, darling?”
“There something wrong with Bungle! I think his head’s going to come off! PLEASE COME AND LOOK!”
We get into the living room and there, on the screen, are Bungle and Zippy….but Bungle has turned around is leaning over to get a tin of paint, and his head is wobbling.
“Don’t be silly! He’s fine.”
“But look at his head, MUM!”
“That’s just where it fixes onto his body.”
“But there’s a line where his neck is!”
“That’s so the man inside can breathe.”
Silence. Just silence….and a tiny face, under a palm tree of ginger hair, looking up….staring.
My mum, suddenly horrified, tries to backtrack. “What I mean is that-”
“There’s a man inside BUNGLE?”
I must have sounded distraught, because I remember that she almost cried. “Does-does he know? Does Bungle know?”
“Yes, darling: of course. He and the man inside him are best friends.”
“But, Mum: does Geoffrey know?”
My mum must really have been thinking on her feet, because at that point she said:
“No, Geoffrey doesn’t know. The man only comes out after the show, when Bungle unzips himself at the back and they all go home.”
“There’s a zip at the back of Bungle?”
“Well, a sort of zip, yes….but the other man only comes out if Bungle has finished for the day and Geoffrey doesn’t want him anymore.”
“Geoffrey ALWAYS wants Bungle, Mum! They sleep together!”
“We have to write to Geoffrey, mum! What if the man comes out at night and hurts him!”
“Darling, Zippy and George would-”
“The man inside Bungle is bigger than Zippy and George! He’d just SMASH them, mum: he’d just SMASH all of them.”
Now aged 37, I look down at that tiny, scrawled writing and a tiny part of me still needs to know….
….who the hell was that guy inside Bungle?